The biggest, the smallest ? How many beetles are there?
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The largest beetles are:
Goliathus goliathus - Scarabaeidae - length 8 - 11 cm and weight to 100 grams
Dynastes hercules - Scarabaeidae - length 15 - 18 cm and weight to 88 grams
Titanus giganteus - Cerambycidae - length 15 - 20 cm ( 20cm sensu J.Sedlacek 1988
Xixuthrus heros - Cerambycidae - lenght 15 - 20 cm (20 cm sensu Simmonds 1964)
Melasoma elephas - Scarabaeidae - lenght 13.7 cm
Megasoma acteon - Scarabaeidae - lenght 13.5 cm

There is also comment from Patrick K.:
Titanus giganteus up to 20 cm .. the largest specimen ever caught (french Guyana) was 17 cm when alived and 16.7 cm when died and dried.
Xyxutrhus heros never reach 20 cm ... 14 is still very large size, or this sizes includes legs, antennas....

The strongest beetles are:
The rhinoceros beetle like Dynastes hercules (subfamily Dynastinae) can carry 850 times its own weight.

We found in the case of the dung beetle Euoniticellus intermedius that it takes from 228 to 425 times a beetle's own body weight to pull it from a tunnel (Lailvaux et al, 2005, Functional Ecology 19,632-639: available for download from .).
The dynastid exertion reference is Kram, R. (1996) Inexpensive load carrying by rhinocerous beetles. J. Exp. Biol. 199, 609-612.

Rob Kne

The smallest beetle:
Nanosella fungi - Ptiliidae - 0.25 mm and weight 0.4 mg
Bacanius punctiformis - Histeridae - 0.675 - 0.804 mm

Most colourful beetles are:
Cicindela chinensis (Cicindelidae) Neptunides polychromus (Scarabaeidae) Callistus lunatus (Carabidae)

Most unusual beetles are:
genus Fulcidax / among the leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae - Chlamydinae) looking like fragments of ore or pieces of crumblet soil.

The hister beetle Hololepta plana is 7.5 mm in length but only 0.9 mm in height.

Most poisonous beetles:

An African leaf beetle, Diamphidia simplex (Chrysomelidae), exudes a poison that causes death by paralysis. African bushmen use this poison on their arrow tips to kill animals.

Jumping beetles.

The Alticinae (Halticinae) are also known as Flea beetles, refers to their jumping abilities.
Species of the genera Longitarsus and Psylliodes can make about half a meter in one jump (personal observation).
(Boris Bueche )

For the fun of it I have held a bit of a leaping contest this week (26.VII.2006). I measured leapings of 5 species of Flea-Beetles (Chrysomelidae) and 2 species of Marsh Beetles (Helodidae). Most of the beetles were able to jump about 30 and some up to 45-50 cm (Omophoita sp 7mm., Systena sp. 3mm & Ora complanata 6mm). I had though a species of Asphaera 8mm to be the strongest jumper, however it didnīt reach further than 35 cm and on average didnīt get above 20 cm; sometimes leaping only 5 cm. The very small species of Systena 3mm showed a very big leap on the other hand. Marsh beetles allways used their wings to adjust the landsite when leaping. The fleabeetles sometimes used their wings when leaping bigger distances (especially Asphaera). The weakest leapers were Ora bivitata 4mm and a small green flaebeetle-species 6mm. Both fleabeetles and marsh beetles often take of into flight directly after jumping away, but these I didnīt consider valid leaps.
Asphaera sp. (8mm): leaps of 5-35
Omophoita cf octopunctata
. (7mm): leaps of 20-45 cm; 50 cm with short flight
Alagoasa? sp
. (6mm): leap of 40 cm
Small green alticine (6mm): leap of 14 cm
Systena sp
. (3mm): big leaps of up to 50 cm
Ora complanata
(6mm): leap of 50 cm
Ora bivittata (4mm): short leaps up to 25 cm (wings used for directing landingsite; not for flying)
greetings from Peru,
Rob Westerduijn

Sagra species
As far as I know the enormous modified hind legs are used in sexual display; moreover, they are present on males only.
(Otto Merkl, Hungary Nat.Mus.)

I may confirm what Max has told us about Amarygmus/Tenebrionidae.
Some of them can jump, but only for a distance of about 5 cm or less. When in their natural habitat (bark of standing trees or dead wood), this is effective enough to jump off and escape predators (or the entomologist, if he does not put his net below!).
In Sulawesi/Indonesia, jumping ability is not found in all Amarygmus, but only in a subgroup of +/- semiglobular species with medially approximate eyes.
Another group that does not look like being able to jump is the Chrysomelid genus Monolepta (Galerucinae). Hind tibiae bear long terminal spurs like in Alticinae, but hind femora are not enlarged at all. The "jumping" is also on short distances and resembles more the tumbling of Mordellidae.

best regards,

Boris Bueche

Could be nice if you can write to me on
if you know the largest or the smallest beetle from other coleopterous families.

The biggest and smallest in different families.


Something from University of Florida "Insects book of records".

-Longest life cycle-some species of wood-boring beetles (Cerambycidae and Buprestidae) have the longest recorded life cycle. Eburia quadrigeminata (Cerambycidae), when feeding in dry wood, may have its development so greatly slowed that adults emerge from furniture and flooring many years after manufacture. The record in a birch bookcase is 40 years. Records for Buprestis aurulenta range from 26-51 years.

-Most parental sharing of brood care-Burying beetle (Nicrophorus orbicollis, silphidae) males are cited in this category. males and females pair off at a carcass, and after defending it from others, bury it. Males and females share the same tasks; there is no absolute division of labor and males will take over sole responsibility if the female disappears (unknown in any other insect).

-Greatest bioluminescence-Pyrophorus noctilucus (Elateridae) is the largest bioluminescent insect, and is reported as having the greatest surface brightness, 45 millilamberts

Gyrinidae swim with a stroke frequency of 50-60 strokes of the hind legs per second and with about half the frequence of the mid legs. The speed is about 100 cm/s in Gyrinus. The total efficiency factor exceeds that of technical machines by far (Nachtigall 1961). The newly acquired, powerful M. noto-trochanteralis (Gyrininae) acts a dominant flight muscle (high frequency movements) and as dominant swimming muscle. Most regular flight muscles are absent in Gyrininae (not in Spanglerogyrus). RGB


How many..?

There is around 140 - 173 families of beetles

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Last modified on Tuesday, 12 November 2019